Jeff Womack – Cibolo, Tex.

He started in 1999 in South Carolina with a couple thousand lights. The next year, he got a couple thousand more. Then he moved to Texas and because everything has to be bigger there, he bumped it 12,000 lights. Then people started to take notice so he thought, well why not 35,000?

By 2006 he was just under 100,000 and at that point, everyone was paying attention. But the only spectators Jeff Womack cared about were the children.

“I could see the little kids getting excited about it—laughing and getting so super excited that they couldn’t control themselves,” Womack said, reflecting on his past displays. “I made it my mission that my display would be geared toward them.”

With more than 75,000 lights, 12 handmade M&M figurines, a dozen Christmas trees and one bubble machine, Jeff Womack has put the joys of childhood back into Christmas. It makes sense really, considering Womack’s first word when he was a baby was “light,” although it sounded more like “ight.”

Womack likes to compare his Christmas display to artwork. Just like art, children and adults react very differently to it.

“Very rarely do you see adults get excited about a piece of artwork, even a great piece,” he said. “But little kids, they don’t have that restraint.”

Most kids probably aren’t flipping out over Picasso’s Blue Period, but the comparison is logical. Christmas is magical, exciting and giggle-inducing when you’re a kid, and Womack wants to keep it that way for them as long as he can.

Once Halloween is finished, it is game day until Thanksgiving for Womack, his wife Michelle, and his three stepchildren. The lights go on Thanksgiving night and stay on until January 6, which marks the end of the 12 Days of Christmas. Every year they collect toys for a local charity. This year Womack and his family have already collected more than 300. The whole family starts decorating the house September 1. It takes about a month to take everything down.

Although Womack loves decorating for Christmas, at the end of the day, it’s for the children.

“If we can keep small children believing in Santa and having that innocence for one more year, we’re pretty happy.”

Cincopa WordPress plugin